Once while I was still living in the States a kiwi friend said to me that what she most missed about living in NZ was that life was so much less complicated than life in the US. She wasn't a knitter. Knitters don't want uncomplicated lives.
Let me explain. I love local yarn stores. Love the possibilities, the smell, the tactile experience that follows, the acceptance of being surrounded by my people. I buy as much as the next knitter on the web but when I really boil it down I am all about yarn stores. I have been known to change the way I feel about a town or state for that matter based on the strength of their yarn stores. Just spent the summer in Massachusetts, I could live there, their yarn stores are fantastic.
So upon returning home I was within days planning my LYS trips. So off I went to what is considered the "best in Dunedin" (the yellow pages said so). I needed some more alpaca to add to my blanket, okay need is maybe the wrong word but lets not muddy the story shall we. I was little thrown by the store upon entering, it had that bright lights, white fakey kind of shelving thing going on (like a miniature version of a Joann's/Michaels/Spotlight with just yarn and very few needles). But I thought now first impressions aren't everything (of course in retail we all know that isn't true but I was just trying to be nice). I had a little look around, feeling more and more despondent. I approached the counter and asked a very nice woman "excuse me but where oh where do you keep your alpaca?". She showed me a few balls of "lovely" wool (Cleckheaton ruled in this joint, not that there is anything wrong with that workhorse of a yarn, it just ain't sexy is all I am saying and when you have a stash the size of mine sexy it has to be - this should be good for google searches!). No, no I gently and slowly said (I had correctly diagnosed within a few short minutes that I was dealing with a person who knits, not a knitter and I didn't want to scare her), your a-l-p-a-c-a. "Now why would you need some alpaca when there is perfectly good wool available" but she managed to pull out a few remaining balls of an alpaca/acrylic blend, nasty nasty stuff. Your cotton, your bamboo, handpainted, your silk, your knitting books, for the love of god your Addis!? (my voice may have been a little on the high side at this point). Ummmm no, no, no, no, no and who? I pulled out of my bag the NZ handpainted laceweight (everyone carries extra yarn in their bag, right, in case you meet another knitter and want to show and tell, don't make me feel weird) and asked anything like this. "It would be lovely to get something like that here but we really don't need it, Dunedin is too cold so it wouldn't be practical". Practical, need it - I don't understand this sort of talk, what sort of place have I moved to! Panic rising I left the store and went to number 2, 3 and 4 on the list. I even went to Spotlight (our Michaels) in case in some freaky other world kind of thing the tables were turned and the big box was the one with the really good stuff in town. Yeah, no, but disturbingly it was no worse.
A crushed, defeated person I returned home, I could no longer live here; yes it hadn't been quite a week and yes it was quite possibly the friendliest, most beautiful place I have been (and I lived in Canada for 6 years) and yes I loved being home but damn there was no decent yarn store. I should have checked this out more thoroughly before moving here, what the hell was I thinking, screw libraries, beaches, parks, wildlife, bookstores, cafes and Asian food stores, it is all about the LYS, I mean I knew that.
So after Ted talked me off the ledge, he reminded of the power of the net, he reminded me how freaky fellow knitters can be when a fellow knitter is in trouble, he reminded me we love to travel and even though I thought that he didn't realise I had planned entire family trips around LYS's he wasn't that silly (well lookee, lookee what do we have here, a yarn store, who would have thunk it) and that it was all going to be okay, really, he was here to help me work through this. And you must love this man; not once did he mention that I could just knit from my stash, knit from my stash for a long, long time.
But all was not lost because I found hope on the horizon......
Tomorrow part 2 of the LYS drama.
For the record this is my drive home.......